Rogue One: Gareth Edwards delivers solid film for fans with impossible demands

donnie-yen

It’s hard not to feel bad for Gareth Edwards, director of  Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The guy was asked to direct a stand-alone Star Wars film that felt new and fresh while simultaneously resonating with fans who watched Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. He also had to direct a film that would satisfy the moviegoers who grew up with Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. The creative gaps he had to bridge with this project were near impossible to close, but yet he somehow managed to make it all work.

Is Rogue One a perfect movie? No. It certainly has its flaws. Most notably is the skimpy backstory for every major character, from Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), to Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) and Chirrut Îmwe (Donnie Yen). The Star Wars franchise is enough of a cultural juggernaut that millions of people are already emotionally invested in this story  (i.e., Who captured the Death Star plans from the Empire and how did they pull it off?), but the screenplay by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy was too lean. But I digress.

jyn-erso

Here is what you need to know for Rogue One:

  • Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen), and Imperial scientist, is forced at gunpoint to leave his family and work on the Death Star. His wife is killed, but his daughter escapes to a hideaway and is saved by Saw Gerrera.
  • The Rebellion has many factions, often working at odds with one another. Rebel Jyn Erso is captured early on in the movie but is rescued by Cassian and his repurposed Imperial droid K-2SO (Alan Tudyk).
  • Cassian has been a part of the Rebellion since he was six years old and has had to make some tough (deadly) decisions working in the world of espionage.
  • It is revealed in a smuggled hologram to Saw that Galen has secretly engineered a kill switch into the Death Star. If the Rebel Alliance can get the plans, then there is chance they can end the threat to the galaxy.
  • The Rebellion plans to use Jyn as a way of working with her old guardian, Saw, who is seen as an extremist. Elements of the Rebellion do not plan on working with Galen once he is found. Instead, they plan to kill him.
  • A series of events convinces Cassian that Galen truly was a good man trying to do his best in a horrible situation, and before long he, Jyn, and a motley crew go “rogue” to capture the plans to the Death Star. Initially reluctant bureaucrats within the Rebellion come to their aid when the crew of Rogue One put boots on the ground in enemy territory.
  • The movie ends right where Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope picks up.

In short, if you want to see a good Star Wars movie that emphasizes the “war” aspect of the franchise, then you should see Rogue One. It has a scene with Darth Vader that is worth the price of admission alone, solid space battles, and plenty of The Force courtesy of Donnie Yen’s character. If you don’t overthink the movie, then you should have a good time in the theater with friends and family.

darth-vader

Editor’s Note: Feel free to head on over to The Conservative Book Club to check out the review I did for them.

Rogue One trailer: ‘Social Justice’ force field instantly deployed for Felicity Jones

Jyn Erso

The new Rogue One trailer came out this morning, which means the “social justice” force field to protect lead actor Felicity Jones was immediately deployed. The way the internet works is that as long as two anonymous people say something then a story can be written about “some men” —  or just “men” if editors are particularly angry.

Rogue One trailer reaction

Here is the thing about the Rogue One trailer: It looks interesting. Is there any Star Wars fan out there who wouldn’t want to see how the Rebel Alliance managed to steal plans for the Death Star? Of course not.

Added bonuses: Donnie Yen and Forest Whitaker have roles, the movie has a gritty look, and it opens up new possibilities for the Star Wars universe.

With that said, it is also a natural reaction for men to raise an eyebrow when Jones’ character, Jyn Erso, beats up stormtroopers as if drunk octogenarians are wearing the armor.

Are there tough women out there? Sure. Can female leads be convincing action stars? Of course. That is one of the many reasons why I gave Star Wars: The Force Awakens rave reviews.

In general, however, a 120-pound woman is not going to stand a chance against a 200-pound man in a street brawl — let alone a group of 200-pound men.

Sorry. It’s just not happening. To get upset at men who point that out after viewing a movie trailer is absurd.

Regardless, at the end of the day, Rogue One looks intriguing. If the movie does well, then the only thing Disney will have to worry about will be over-saturating the market with Star Wars flicks. That is a good problem to have.

Remember: Even a person who enjoys chocolate cake will turn it down if you give them too much.

Rogue One Empirial Guard

Let me know what you think of the Rogue One trailer in the comments section below.

Should Felicity Jones be the main character? Will she nail the role, or will she be choke like Admiral Motti before Lord Vader?

Madea’s Big Happy Critic-proof Movie

I love seeing movies. Sometimes, when disposable income abounds (which hasn’t happened in some time), I’ll even see bad movies just to know how bad they are. And, when time allows, I’ll even peruse through reviews to get a general idea of what people are saying about the actors, writers, and directors.  Without fail, whenever a movie marketed for a primarily black audience comes up, I’ll see comments like this:

“Tyler Perry’s movies are often attacked by racist white film critics that don’t understand African American culture…I believe it is deleterious that white people even review black films it doesn’t make sense to me. Why review films about a culture that you don’t understand?” (Orville — Saturday April 23, 2011. 6:55am, deadline.com.)

No doubt, these posts come from a brain tilled with Spike Lee mind-plows and fertilized with Cornell West thought-manure. Is this poster implying black culture is beyond the comprehension of my Irish-German DNA? The last time I checked, humans (this is, all humans) have the ability to empathize with others. We’re able to  psychologically put ourselves in another man’s shoes. We can come to rational conclusions on a wide range of issues using logic and reason. True art touches universal truths that can be articulated, aptly by the best critics, and clumsily by…the “Orvilles” of the world.

When I was in college I had a professor tell me that all white people were subconsciously racist. This was apparently the case even with me, despite the fact that one of the men I most-admired during my military days, SFC. Lorenzo Farrow, was black.  Even though many of the guys in my platoon—who I’d willingly take a bullet for—weren’t white, I was still subconsciously a racist. When asked what I could do to eradicate this so-called racism, the response? Nothing. What a coincidence—I suffered from an ailment I couldn’t shake, with consequences of said ailment only alleviated by the public policies offered up by concerned (often white) liberals. No thanks.

Let’s accept Orville’s premise, if just for a moment. If black culture is beyond my understanding, what am I to make of the Baltimore McDonald’s beat down of Chrissy Lee Polis? What am I to make of metro train insanity rants aimed at the elderly? I hope the Orville’s of the world could see how accepting their premise would actually lead to more—not less—racial tensions.

I have never seen a Tyler Perry movie. I have no idea if I ever will. My desire to watch films starring black actors generally revolves around those similar to  Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samaurai. But if I was to buy a ticket to see a Perry film, I’m confident I could give a reasoned review as to why it was hilarious…or horrible. If you like the trailer, go see it. If not, I promise I won’t tell you it’s because of great big cultural wall of impenetrable whiteness.